Aerospace blow as Collins plans 255 redundancies at Wolverhampton sites

An aerospace manufacturer is planning to make more than 250 redundancies at its sites in Wolverhampton, after the air industry took a huge blow from the coronavirus pandemic.

An aerial view showing Collins Aerospace's site on Stafford Road in Wolverhampton. Photo: Tim Thursfield
An aerial view showing Collins Aerospace's site on Stafford Road in Wolverhampton. Photo: Tim Thursfield

Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of US corporation Raytheon Technologies, has two sites very close to each other in the north of Wolverhampton.

It has its actuation systems factory at Stafford Road – the former Lucas plant – and a power and control systems operation HS Marston Aerospace accessed off nearby Wobaston Road.

The company, which produces hi-tech aerospace systems, also plans redundancies at its sites in Marston Green, Birmingham and Banbury in Oxfordshire.

Around 170 jobs are expected to be cut at the Stafford Road site

It is believed to be proposing 170 redundancies at Stafford Road and 85 at Wobaston Road.

A statement from the company, which has its UK headquarters in Wokingham, Berkshire, said: "Collins Aerospace is making tough decisions to align our business with significantly reduced demand for commercial aviation products due to the impact of Covid-19.

"To address this reduction in business, we have made the difficult decision to enter into consultation regarding redundancies at our UK facilities in Banbury, Wolverhampton, and Marston Green. This is a critical step to ensuring that Collins Aerospace emerges strong once this crisis is contained."

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It said that the numbers were not yet confirmed and are still subject to consultations.

The Unite union has warned that the West Midlands faces the loss of highly skilled, well paid jobs as a result.

It said that with the Government's furlough programme continuing in some form until October, and with the union fighting for a sector support package, the move to lay-offs is premature.

The Wobaston Road site

Unite is organised at the sites in Wolverhampton and Birmingham and will be entering into negotiations with Collins Aerospace with the aim of reducing the number of redundancies and removing the threat of compulsory job losses.

The union has been calling on the Government to bring forward a sector support package for aerospace, which has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that with every day going by without the type of Government support seen in competitor nations like France and Germany, the industry in the UK will shrink in employment and prestige.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Andy Taylor said: “The announcement of the job losses at Collins Aerospace is a bitter blow to the West Midlands which simply can’t afford to lose this type of well paid, highly skilled job.

The entrance to the Wobaston Road site

“But this announcement is premature. With the jobs retention scheme continuing until October, Collins should reassess its decision until support for the sector from the Government is agreed.

“This is yet another example of why the entire aerospace industry needs a specific sectorial package from the Government in order to protect employment skills in a sector where the UK is a world leader.

“Unite will, of course, be working tirelessly to convince the company to think again, and we certainly will not accept compulsory job losses."

The union says it has ideas to help the UK aerospace industry - the second biggest in the world - to survive, rebuild and recover, including introduction of a strategy for support in line with those already announced in France and Germany, the creation of an aircraft replacement scheme to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint and a long-term commitment to the new Tempest fighter aircraft.

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